Raleigh Rambles

John Dancy-Jones at large!

Elise Witt – local girl gone global


Elise Witt is a proud product of Knightdale, UNC-CH, and the Raleigh area.  She is in Atlanta now and always doing amazing things.  Her wonderful music is informed by classical training, world-wide folk traditions – and Elise’s unique, enthralling and amazing voice!  She writes, performs and produces wonderful music, and betters the world while she’s at it – working with Alternate Roots over many years as it has grown, traveling around the country giving workshops about enriching your life with music, and exemplifying with her own life and career the commitment to enlightened, positive existence.


 Where to start!  In the last year, she has visited China:

From December 9-18, 2007, I was invited as a guest to fly to China, to sing with the Chiang-Su State Chorus from Nanjing, and the Beijing Central Conservatory Chorus, along with the Jiangsu Province Symphony Orchestra, with guests from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, and Russia, under the direction of reknowned Chinese conductor Mu-Hai Tang (former assistant conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, under Maestro Karajan).

 She has sung in support of the natural environment.

She sang to help meld a world of differences.

 She has also presented and/or participated in her usual plethora of workshops focused on using singing and music for personal enrichment, attainment of harmony and peace, and for plain old fun.  Check out her website and buy her stuff!  Go Elise!


June 8, 2008 Posted by | art, music | , , , | Leave a comment

Jeffery Beam helps us mourn Jonathan Williams

  he done

what he could

when he got round

to it

Jeffery Beam is a wonderful literary character who works at UNC-CH and lives in Hillsborough.  He has a book out of collected poems and has many interesting publications to his credit.

He is always alerting me to wonderful things, such as his readings for Groundhog Day, or a friend’s musical setting for a soldier’s last letter home, or the blooming of the Dove tree in the UNC Arboretum.  Recently he gave me the news that Jonathan Williams had died.  He knew the man and understood his importance as few do.

Here is the beginning of Jeffery’s obituary:

                      Poet, publisher, and photographer Jonathan Chamberlain Williams, founder of The Jargon Society press, one of the most renowned small presses of the last half of the twentieth century, and champion and publisher of some of the most important mid and late century poets in the United States and England, died on March 16, 2008 in Highlands, North Carolina. Williams, 79, began his avant-garde press while a student at the Chicago Institute of Design, naming it “Jargon” not only for its meaning of personal idiom, but after the French spring pear, “jargonelle” and the French “jargon,” meaning the twittering of birds.

Jeffery writes of his personal work, the incredibly important work of The Jargon Society press, but mostly he evokes for us the amazingly unique style and oulook of this man.

                       Williams’ interests and talents, revealed him as a Renaissance man – publisher; poet and satirist; book designer; editor; photographer; legendary correspondent; literary, art, and photography critic and collector; early collector and proselytizer of visionary folk art; cultural anthropologist; curmudgeon; happy gardener; resolute walker; and keen and adroit raconteur and gourmand.  Williams’ refined decorum and speech, and sartorial style, contrasted sharply, yet pleasingly, with his delight in the bawdy, his incisive humor, and his confidently experimental and inventive poems and prose.  His interests, in his own words, raised, “the common to grace,” while paying “close attention to the earthy.” At the forefront of the avant-garde, and yet possessing a deep appreciation of the traditional, Williams celebrated, rescued, and preserved, as he described it, “more and more away from the High Art of the city” settling “for what I could unearth and respect in the tall grass.”


Just closed is a show whose prospectus gives some idea of the many dimensions of this man.  Thank you, Jeffery, as we try to find the proper way to remember and honor this unique individual.

The Jargon Society has come under the wing of the Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center in Asheville.


News from Jeff Beam

 GREEN HILL CENTER FOR NORTH CAROLINA ART presents “If you can kill a snake with it, it ain’t art” – The personal art collection of Jonathan Williams

 …this unusual, varied, and exciting collection of art collected by one of the finest poets of his generation, Jonathan Williams.  Details below. Continue reading

June 8, 2008 Posted by | Black Mountain, literary | , , , | 1 Comment